Alarm Over Cannabis Edibles Marketed Like Candy: Detroit Schools Seek Intervention

May 2nd, 2024 Safety & Education
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Detroit school district leaders are voicing their concerns about a troubling trend: the increasing use of cannabis edibles and vape pens among students. In a letter addressed to state lawmakers, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and school board members highlighted the urgent need for legislative action to combat this issue.

The letter revealed startling statistics that show a significant rise in drug-related incidents within the schools. From the 2019-20 to the 2020-21 school years, the district recorded 289 drug-related incidents. This number dramatically increased to 1,735 incidents between the 2021-22 and the 2022-23 school years, with 745 infractions reported just this school year.

Vitti and the board members are particularly concerned about the accessibility and appeal of cannabis products to students, noting that some edibles are packaged to closely mimic popular candy brands, making them nearly indistinguishable from non-cannabis products. This resemblance not only misleads students but also simplifies the distribution of these products within schools. An accompanying image in the letter shows edibles packaged similarly to well-known candies like Skittles and Starburst.

The leaders are calling for several specific safety measures:

  • Mandatory clear labeling on edibles to distinctly indicate the presence of cannabis.
  • A ban on packaging that mimics the appearance of non-cannabis candy.
  • Allocation of funds for schools to acquire detection systems for vape pens and cannabis, with the funding sourced from cannabis sales and taxes.
  • The launch of a public awareness campaign financed by cannabis legalization revenues to educate the community about the importance of securing edibles away from children and the potential risks children face when they have access to these products.

Additionally, Attorney and DPSCD parent Marcia Spivey shared her concerns, emphasizing the need for better coordination between city leaders and school officials, particularly regarding the impact of local cannabis legislation on families and students.

The district's plea underscores a growing concern in educational environments about the implications of cannabis legalization and the necessity for targeted legislative responses to protect students and ensure the safety of school environments.

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